July 9, 2012- First Day at Nkoaranga

July 9, 2012

Ugh. Dilan and Aaron are snorers! Haha, they woke up early to the girls (Julia, Neha and I) groaning at the unpleasant night we had hearing their snores. It’s going to be a long 5 days!

Here we are at Nkoaranga Hospital! As I described before, the hospital is set on the top of the hill. It’s comprised of a series of low grey buildings with corrugated roofs, some joined together by paved sidewalks, some only have dirt paths between them. The buildings all serve their own purpose- maternity ward, operating “theater”, male and female wards, x-ray, outpatient clinics, a chapel. Painted wooden arrows point the way to these various services. On the wards, we started the day by helping with bed changing. The “wards” are rooms that are packed with 10 beds, all side by side.  No curtains surround each bed, no monitoring equipment beeps incessantly.  Patients share their illness experience together, with relatives fitting themselves in somehow as well. We started the morning helping the nurses change bed sheets and to do so, patients actually move to sit in their neighbour’s bed for a moment while their sheets are removed. Everyone shares here. There are 1-2 private rooms at the end of each hallway, but those are reserved for patients who can afford them.

Rounds involved a fairly large entourage of people piling into these already full rooms- our group, the nurses, a group of nursing students and Dr. Julius, our host doctor here. With only one doctor here at a time, limited nursing staff, and limited technical equipment to give you basic information such as vitals, you can imagine rounds take a while, to put it mildly. We had to go through all the female patients, male patients, the pediatric ward, the critical care area and post-op patients as well. Nonetheless, great learning experience. With such a large scope of rounds, you obviously see a lot as well. Just like Canada though, Dr. Julius peppered us with questions along the way (good prep for 3rd year clerkship though!).

Later in the day, Julia and I headed to where we really longed to be- the maternity ward! Similar in style to the other wards, the maternity ward is always packed at Nkoaranga. Women can walk fairly long distances from the surrounding villages to deliver here because the care is covered and includes 3 antenatal appointments, their labour and delivery and post-natal follow up. Julia and I helped with the antenatal appointments for the rest of the day which was wonderful- we got to foster relationships with the nurses and the patients so hopefully we can observe some deliveries later on! 

Yay! More to come,

Love Alina

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